Artists at a gallery in Washington are using the Black Female Artists Paint portraits of black female leaders in a series titled ‘Black Female Artists’, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Black Artists Program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.
The exhibit is titled Black Female artists in Washington: Portraits of Black Women Artists in the U.S. and abroad, which opens on Oct. 20.
The exhibit highlights some of the black female artists who painted portraits of their favorite female leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“There are more female artists that have painted portraits than any other group, so it is a very, very special piece of art,” said Heather Williams, a curator at the museum.
The work was commissioned by the National Museum’s Black Female Artist Program and is part of the exhibit’s larger mission, which includes the exhibition “Black Female: Portrait of a Woman” and other programs.
“The Black Female artist program at the National Center for African American Art is not just about the female artists themselves, but also the programs and services that they have created,” said Dr. Nelia Jones, the curator of African-American art at the center.
“And so we are really proud to bring these portraits together.”
The portrait series will highlight women from around the world who painted their portraits of female leaders to celebrate Black History Month.
The paintings were commissioned by National Gallery of Art curator and Smithsonian curatorial director Jodie Johnson.
They are part of a larger exhibition called Black Female: Paintings of Black Female Leaders in the United States and abroad.
“This is a collection of portraits of the female leaders that we are commemorating, so that’s really where we’re trying to focus on that is how women’s lives are depicted,” Jones said.
The exhibition will be on view until Oct. 28.
The Black female artist program was established in the early 1960s by the Black Women’s Movement.
This was the first time the Smithsonian was involved in the program, which was initiated by the Smithsonian African American Museum in 1964.
In recent years, there have been a number of women who have taken on leadership roles in the art world, including actress Sandra Bullock, fashion designer Kate Spade, former President Bill Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Vice president Joe Biden.
The program has been expanded in recent years to include the women of color who were active in the civil rights movement and who were also members of the arts community.
“They have taken up some of these important issues in our lives,” Jones added.
“And they have inspired us as women to take on this great challenge, and they have changed the world.”